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Preview: Calgary Flames vs Montreal Canadiens 12/19/19 (37/82): Flames Look To Snap Two Game Skid Against Surging Habs

The Canadiens have handled the Flames well over the years and tonight will be a tough test for Calgary.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames vs Montreal Canadiens, 7 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

TV: SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames 18-14-4 (40 pts) - Montreal Canadiens 16-12-6 (38 pts)

NHL Standings

The Flames will close out a four game home stand with a visit from the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night. Calgary would surely like to get back on track as they have dropped two in a row after winning seven straight. The Flames potent offence has dried up as the boys in red have only scored one goal in those two straight losses. Complicating matters is the fact that at times the Flames are the best team on the ice. Calgary has had very solid opening periods against the Hurricanes and Penguins, but little to show for it. They tend to struggle in the second period and then the wheels fall apart as the head the third, leading to a couple of frustrating losses. Hopefully this a just a minor hiccup and the Flames are more like the seven in a row Flames and not the team that lost six in a row. Time will tell, but a victory over the Canadiens tonight would go a long way to calming the fears that this is going in the wrong direction again.

With that in mind, the Canadiens won’t provide an easy test. After an extended eight game losing skid from November 16th to December 1st Montreal has gotten hot. The Habs have won five of their last seven and done it by stymieing the oppositions offence. In three of their five wins they’ve allowed only one goal and in the other two victories they’ve allowed no more than two goals. Carey Price has started to return to form, winning four out of his last five and he’s allowed only six goals in those five starts. This has to be a welcome sight for anyone who cares about the Canadiens as Price was struggling during the month of November. After Halloween Price lost seven of his 11 starts and surrendered five or more goals four times, including an 8-1 loss to the Bruins where he gave up five goals on 11 shots.

2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic - Calgary Flames v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

The Flames have struggled with Montreal historically, winning only 26 times in 63 visits by the Canadiens. The Habs have won three out of the last five times they have visited the Saddledome and swept the season series last year for the first time since 1996.

But most importantly: the Flames will be wearing their retro white’s tonight that they debuted at the Heritage Classic back in October.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Rittich (E)- 15-8-4, 2.73 GAA, .914 Save%

Canadiens: Price (E)- 14-10-3, 2.85 GAA, .908 Save%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals: Lindholm (14) Points: Monahan (28) PIM: Lucic (34) Save%: Rittich (.914)

Canadiens: Goals: Gallagher (14) Points: Tatar (30) PIM: Tatar (28) Save%: Price (.908)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Montreal Canadiens Coverage: Eyes On The Prize

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 1 - Pittsburgh Penguins 4

Montreal Canadiens 3 - Vancouver Canucks 1

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Gaudreau (F): 4 goals in last 4 games

Montreal Canadiens

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Phillip Danault (C): 4 assists in last 5 games